Monday, May 16, 2011

Reality! Really?

Methodical Madness
CONNECTION : Reverse Camera Angle

During video prep, big moments are created.  Through the process, an epiphany occurred.  No amount of planning could have revealed live happenstance.  However, recognizing and capturing it requires an open mind and quick thinking. Take advantage of good natural sunshine or the imagery of life.  Audio like B-role video, capture real samples and add a layer of meaning...when sampling, it is best to use your camera mic and let it role, point at a stable object; you can detach audio track for later use.

Video Analysis Script
VIDEO ANALYSIS Key to my process: I spent more time analyzing a successful video to reveal the storyboard. I took it down to a layer cake methodology.  Extracting the shot image, length, audio/ voice over/ music/ sound and message conveyed to understand the power markers. While the "Disney-style" storyboarding is a useful tool. Don't get caught up; After all is a tool for the final product (Disney invests millions so the process reflects thousands).  If words work for you use words.

Storyboard: template pace key
4 lines of 10 (2x5sec) images
STORYBOARD Have a great initial idea is on the board...Be brave and flexible with what happens next. Reality may be what you experience, however, process happens. Use all elements of audio, visual syntax handy to support your "story". Prejudiced against "canned" or fake sounds, I tried to find original or local musicians.  Even a friend who is practicing the scales adds interest.
Storyboard: Handwritten

Eleuthera Voluteer:
1st shot to 7th shot
PEOPLE Working with camera shy people...I make a point of letting everyone I shoot know...I am vane. I will not use any image that does not flatter me or you.  It is unethical and mean spirited to take images out of context just to complete a project. I worked with a group of kids at Code Academy - 7 shots to get them comfortable, a volunteer in Eleuthera...7 and some other group members - I had challenges, so the images were not used.  Another word of advice, don't rush them...start the camera well before they are ready and give them several takes...sometimes, people are better on their own- you can walk away...they can surprise you.
Code Academy Boys:
First to Final

Staging:  Makeup & hair
SELF STUDY Not initially camera friendly and completing the project it was necessary, I had to choose to communicate a message. Becoming self-aware, my image- it was frighting and revelatory.  The mirror tells a story- the camera doesn't lie.  The extra 20 pounds is right there- so find that good side and frame your best qualities.  Lingering still shots hurt - subject and viewer. So suck it up and tell your story.

STAGE Distraction from the story = Detraction from the message Staging: what is in your photo - tells the story. The techne / artifacts signal viewer expectation.  Keep it clean - the viewer expects you to direct their focus.  Order, frame, move or omit.

TIME Be aware of time! Most of my shots were 8 to 6 seconds reserving
length to communication of a cohesive idea.  My rule is follow the "action"- what does this mean?  If a car is preparing to turn - let it.  I shows a completing of the act.  A shot of the car with a blinker on, moving though an intersection and then through the the end.  I can stop the video at any point- to give a different pacing and meaning if I have a complete shot.  Editing is easy if I have a complete "action". Be aware of motion and tropos to change or shift focus.

POP SONG RULE Full length of the video, my opinion no longer than a pop song/ traffic light...think what is your patience level. When do you loose focus?  Better yet - a kid? Only Iron Butterfly could pull off "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" but that was in the 60's. As we studied, most people have a limited attention when it come to the delivery of info.  I chose a bump sequence "attention getter" then launched into the title shots...for these projects - I took it seriously because it will be in my portfolio.  Value of the sequences- the individuals can stand alone and when packaged as a series- they have greater communication value.  You notice a "Bigger Punch" with series.

EDITING Do not be afraid to cut out "Uhhhs", likes, really and you knows. Play around with the editing transitions and titles...titles punctuate a message. Transitions ease the viewer forward.  There are some cool techniques in the advanced tools for editing...use a layering of meaning through subtile methods or hit it hard to smack it home.  Editing is where you can hide all mistakes and control the outcome.  After all it is your story.

Tripods rule! End of discussion.
Clapper Board/ Marker: Lots of video/ it is key to find the greatness quick!
Scripting information is good for voice over and explanation; it is no substitute for the candid moments on in situ/ on sight shots.  In shooting, I focused on the shot and lost tons of ops.
Some examples, I neglected:

  • Great stormy spring time images
  • Tilman Chimes playing GAGA
  • Bagpipe guy at Fort Hill
  • Twilight skateboarders and early morning joggers
  • Guy who interrupted my shot offering to help us and asking questions
You do not know how much great moments I lost...dead battery, full memory, loss of disk space, operator error (turning it off instead of on).  Find the value in collective experiences and extraordinary...for the AHA moments. Like CLAM.

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